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Challenges to Hatch

I got a note from the Libertarian Party of Utah over the weekend saying that they’ve initiated a national campaign to find a challenger to Orrin Hatch in the 2006 election. Here’s what the note said (in part):

Libertarian Party of Utah Chairman Rob Latham has put out a call across America for a challenger to run on his party’s ticket against five-term incumbent U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch.

“The candidate who can run the strongest campaign should be our nominee,” says Latham, “regardless of where in the country that candidate hails from.”

Although eligible citizens from across America may run for any open federal congressional seat, candidates must be residents of the state they intended to represent in Congress “when elected.”

With an increasingly mobile American population, geography is a becoming less of a factor in determining which elected officials “represent” which citizens.

The Democrats have used this technique famously in electing Robert Kennedy and Hillary Clinton Senators from New York, but Utah isn’t New York.

Even so, I talk to more and more people who think Hatch has been in long enough. We know about Pete Ashdown’s challenge on the Democratic side. And I’ve heard that John Jacobs and Greg Hawkins are going to challenge Hatch in the Republican primary, but I wonder if we’ll see a real, credible challenger emerge on the Republican ticket.

I’m sure I’ll get email from Jacobs and Hawkins because I said they aren’t “credible” but let’s face it. To beat Hatch, you have to win at convention. You can’t beat him in a statewide primary with the general population voting because he will retain lots of support and be able to blanket the State with billboards and TV commercials.

So, to beat Hatch, so you have to have some bones with the party establishment and know how to organize to win delegates at caucus meetings next March. I don’t think Jacobs or Hawkins have those credentials. I’ve heard a few rumblings about other candidates, but nothing substantial enough to print yet.

Everyone thinks Hatch is unbeatable, but I’m not so sure. After all, Hatch himself was elected by beating an “unbeatable” candidate. I’m looking forward to an interesting election year.

Posted by windley on June 20, 2005 08:43 AM